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04/11/2003 Archived Entry: "Backlash?...Bring it on!"

Michael Moore has a delightful article countering the intimidation campaign to silence anti-war voices by making them fear for their careers. Moore, as you probably remember, spoke out against the war at the Oscars [Best Documentary, "Bowling for Columbine"]. The backlash?

Moore, of whom I am not normally a fan, writes, On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the Academy Awards, attendance at "Bowling for Columbine" in theaters around the country went up 110% (source: Daily Variety/BoxOfficeMojo.com). The following weekend, the box office gross was up a whopping 73% (Variety). It is now the longest-running consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks in a row and still thriving. The number of theaters showing the film since the Oscars has INCREASED, and it has now bested the previous box office record for a documentary by nearly 300%. Yesterday (April 6), "Stupid White Men" shot back to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This is my book's 50th week on the list, 8 of them at number one, and this marks its fourth return to the top position, something that virtually never happens. In the week after the Oscars, my website was getting 10-20 million hits A DAY (one day we even got more hits than the White House!). The mail has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive (and the hate mail has been hilarious!). In the two days following the Oscars, more people pre-ordered the video for "Bowling for Columbine" on Amazon.com than the video for the Oscar winner for Best Picture, "Chicago." In the past week, I have obtained funding for my next documentary, and I have been offered a slot back on television to do an updated version of "TV Nation"/ "The Awful Truth."

This is encouraging. Also heartening...the Dixie Chicks' album is still at #1 on the Billboard country charts and, according to Entertainment Weekly, on the pop charts during all the brouhaha, they ROSE from #6 to #4.

US military might is moving closer to the Syrian border, with Coalition air strikes targeting the Iraqi-Syrian border "to prevent missile launches and stop [Iraqi] regime leaders from fleeing." On what does the US base its accusations that Syria was helping supporters of Saddam to flee? Rumsfeld stated that he had "scraps of intelligence." Sounds like enough reason to declare war to me. On the Syrian side of the situation, the foreign ministry ''urges the international community to exert every possible effort to put an end to the occupation and manage the catastrophic situation that has resulted from the aggression." This statement comes as retired US Army general Jay Garner, officially the director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance,prepares to head Iraq's "interim authority." I wonder is Garner will be greeted by the protests that have been sparked in Basra by the "appointment" of Sheik Muzahim Mustafa Kanan Tameemi -- the Brit's choice of a leader there.

Best to all,

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